The future is friendly: making the link between innovation and CSR

By Helen Goodland

Construction InnovationInnovation is a hot topic these days but it has generally been discussed in the context of hardcore technology. But investing in innovation has a softer side and the results can have a far greater impact on bottom line than buying the latest gadget. 

Re-thinking business approaches in order to compete effectively involves getting to grips with those hard-to-pin-down issues such as corporate social responsibility. 

There is a large body of evidence that demonstrates companies do well by doing good. For example, attracting and retaining skilled, technologically-savvy millennials means that your company must be cooler, friendlier, and more passionate about what you do than the competition. And it doesn’t end there – not only do they demand opportunity and respect, but they want to know what your company stands for. 

At the same time, forward-looking owners are starting to demand more from their suppliers in the form of ethical purchasing requirements and social procurement. They want to know they are buying from companies that treat their workers fairly and treat the planet with respect.

The Canadian Construction Association recently adopted a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy statement which says, “Canadian Construction Association (CCA) recognizes that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a rapidly evolving issue and affects companies differently depending on their size, location and specialization. CCA recognizes the importance of CSR, and encourages companies to voluntarily undertake initiatives that enable them to operate in an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable manner.”

Many construction companies have their own CSR policies but the challenge is how to demonstrate those commitments in a way that is meaningful and visible to employees, owners, communities, and society at large. Construction companies in the UK have taken matters into their own hands and developed a program for industry by industry.

The UK’s Considerate Construction Scheme aims to improve the image and perception of the construction industry by seeking sustainable solutions, minimizing waste, and effectively using resources within the industry. It offers an intriguing model for B.C. companies seeking to set themselves apart in a very competitive world.

Set up by construction industry leaders as a non-profit independent organization in 1997, the Considerate Construction Scheme is designed to encourage best practices beyond statutory requirements. Supported by government, the UK’s construction industry has pledged to continuously gain a positive image. Companies are encouraged to register all relevant construction activity under the Considerate Construction Scheme. 

The opt-in program provides monitoring of registered websites, companies, and suppliers and transparently displays posters around construction sites where name, telephone, and site manager contacts are clearly displayed. A prominently-displayed 1-800 number provides a 24/7 response to project neighbours should they have any questions or experience anything untoward. 

In an effort to improve the construction industry’s image, the UK scheme has been tackling issues such as occupational cancers, mental health, safety, best practice sharing, and apprenticeship training. The website ( is an extensive best-practice guide that supports workers at all levels as they navigate sustainable and ethical solutions to real-life situations. Awards are offered to companies with the best records of performance.

Companies that sign up to join the Considerate Construction Scheme are bound by a Code of Considerate Practice, which is comprised of the following:

  • Considerate constructors seek to improve the image of the construction industry by striving to promote and achieve best practice under the Code.
  • The Code of Considerate Practice outlines the Scheme's expectations and describes those areas that are considered fundamental for registration with the Scheme.
  • The Code is in five parts. Each section of the Code contains an aspirational supporting statement and four bullet points, which represent the basic expectations of registration with the Scheme. 
  1. Care about appearance
  2. Respect the community
  3. Protect the environment
  4. Secure everyone's safety
  5. Value their workforce
  • The Code of Considerate Practice applies to all registered sites, companies, and suppliers regardless of size, type, or location.

Currently, there is no such scheme in Canada but such a program would lend consistency and transparency to both contractors and owners. However, B.C. is generally ahead of the game when it comes to embracing sustainability. Embracing such a scheme would positively reinforce the industry’s position as a forward-looking, fair, tolerant, and just place to work and conduct business. Hopefully, it is not too long before such a program emerges on this side of the Atlantic.

In the meantime, support is at hand for B.C. businesses in the form of innovation bootcamps that will help businesses uncover and develop the value that lies in investing in innovation, including CSR.

Helen Goodland, RIBA, MBA, is principal of Brantwood Consulting and co-founder of Building Technology Innovations. She recently completed the B.C. Construction Innovation Project for the B.C. Construction Association. She serves on the Canadian Construction Association’s CSR Taskforce and is chair of the United Nations Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative’s Materials Technical Advisory Committee.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of SICA's Construction Review Magazine. To read the entire magazine click here.

March 22, 2021

2021 Gold Seal Program Changes

The Gold Seal Certification program certifies estimators, foremen, owner’s construction managers, project managers, safety practitioners and superintendents working in, or with, Canada’s non-residential construction industry.
Read More
March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Update

​Like you, SICA has been closely monitoring the ongoing global spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Read More
October 04, 2019

2019 Industry Awards of Excellence Winners

SICA would like to congratulate all the finalists and the winners of SICA's inaugural Industry Awards of Excellence! Finalists and winners were honored yesterday, October 3rd, at the Award Presentation Dinner held at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna, BC.
Read More
December 12, 2018

Winter Safety Tips

Working during winter feels more like survival of the fittest than an everyday challenge. The risks are much greater for employees who have to work and drive outdoors.
Read More
September 13, 2018

8th Annual Chair Dinner & Awards Celebrates Industry Leaders

SICA held our annual Chair Dinner and Award Night where we celebrate member anniversaries, board volunteers, Gold Seal recipients, and scholarship recipients. In addition, this year we had the honor of awarding both a Consultant Award and the Innovation Award.
Read More
June 28, 2018

2018 Kamloops Trap & Skeet

Every year the Kamloops Trap & Skeet is one of the most anticipated events we host! With over 100 attendees, BBQ steaks, and some tough competition it is safe to say that a blast was had by all.
Read More
June 27, 2018

2018 SICA Golf Tournament

On June 21st, 2018 144 golfers converged on Sunset Ranch Golf Course for the annual SICA Golf Tournament. Despite lightening in the valley causing a brief course closure and pouring down rain in the afternoon the event was a huge success!
Read More
May 30, 2018

2nd Annual Family Fishing Derby

The beautiful Roche Lake Resort was again the site for our now 2nd annual Family Fishing Derby. This event, hosted through a joint partnership between the Southern Interior Construction Association and CapriCMW Insurance, is quickly becoming a must attend for all SICA members.
Read More
April 30, 2018

Celebrating our Own - Terry Brown Receives CCA's Person of the Year Award

The CCA Person of the Year Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate the qualities of a leader and who apply the highest standards and principles of the construction industry and business community. To those who have had the opportunity of working alongside Terry Brown, he is the living embodiment of this description.
Read More
April 24, 2018

10th Anniversary of Heavy Metal Rocks in Kamloops

2018 marked the 10th year of the Heavy Metal Rocks event in Kamloops. This project provides opportunities for Grade 11 and 12 students from the School District No. 73 to explore career opportunities in the heavy equipment operator field.
Read More
April 19, 2018

Construction Industry Celebrates BC Construction Month at Okanagan College

The Kelowna building community was proud to celebrate BC’s Construction & Skilled Trades Month with a breakfast held at Okanagan College on Thursday. In the newly built Trades Building contractors, apprentices, foundation program students and industry support organizations gathered to recognize the impact the construction industry has on the BC and specifically the Okanagan economy.
Read More
BCCA Employee Benefits logo.JPG
February 07, 2018

Unsung Benefits

The BCCA Employee Benefits’ plans offer other services beyond dental and extended health care.
Read More
January 24, 2018

Message Delivered, Message Received

Successful buildings have always been the result of collaboration between the client, designers, and contractors. A strong team, clear expectations, and concise information will typically result in a project which all involved parties will consider successful. Through recent decades the delivery of projects has changed with increased complexity, decreased timeframes, and changing delivery methods. Now more than ever it is critical that the collaboration between the team occurs to ensure the desired outcome.
Read More
December 20, 2017

TAX ALERT – Government Simplifies Measures to Rein in Income Sprinkling

On December 13, the federal government released legislation to simplify restrictions on income sprinkling, proposed to go into effect January 1, 2018. These revisions indicate they’ve listened to feedback during the consultation period, by providing more certainty to taxpayers through the introduction of “bright-line” tests to automatically exclude some family members, and allow income sprinkling for those members who make sufficient contributions to the business.
Read More
8F - 2006 Mack Dump Truck.jpg
December 13, 2017

Member Spotlight: Ok Excavating

Adaptability, initiative, and customer service are the keys to longevity for a local commercial and residential excavation business in Kelowna. OK Excavating is celebrating 50 years of business in 2017 and, in those years, has undergone many evolutions.
Read More
November 29, 2017

Construction and Cyber Risk: An Overview

A hazard such as a fire has protocols and procedures that are designed to mitigate risks – inspections, suppression systems, and risk management practices. Cyber protection of a business should also employ a rigorous process to develop both a risk prevention and incident response plan. Most cyber insurance applications serve as a catalyst in moving towards this process.
Read More
November 15, 2017

Could Tax Issues Throw Your Business Off Track?

To stay on track, real estate and construction companies should develop a better understanding of where tax issues are likely to complicate or disrupt their business — and develop a plan to mitigate those risks well in advance.
Read More
November 08, 2017

Top Five Reasons for Having an Employee Benefits Plan

One of the biggest investments employers can make is in their employees. And it makes sense to want productive, healthy, and engaged employees. Employees with poor health cannot exert the effort required to be highly productive, and you need engaged employees in order to create innovative solutions.
Read More
August 30, 2017

Obligation of Good Faith in Contracting

The Supreme Court of Canada changed the legal landscape for contracts in the decision of Bhasin v. Hrynew, [2014] SCC 71. This decision created a new common law obligation of good faith that applies to all commercial contracts.
Read More
August 23, 2017

Embracing the Purpose Era

Regardless of the size of your business or the sector you operate in, the purpose movement is shaking up the rules of business and ringing in a new era where business is an active participant in making the world a better place.
Read More